How Pay for Performance Benefits Your Company

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21Media, LLC

Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA

Brett DiNovi & Associates

As behavior analysts, our world view is based on the act-in-context. One of the most prevalent contexts that occasion our behavior takes place in organizations.  Behaviorally speaking, an organization is made up of a complex system of interlocking behavioral contingencies within a mileu of setting factors.  Within this system, the behavior of hundreds or thousands of people interact in a dynamic and fluid manner to serve the mission of the company.  A critical set of factors here pertains to pay, and for many of us, our pay is based on time, rather than performance.

In a review of research related to pay contingencies published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, Bucklin and Dickinson (2008) found individual monetary incentives to facilitate work performance more-so than hourly pay, when both are combined with regular performance feedback.  They further noted that the most important factor in pay is that a ratio schedule exists between a pay amount per unit of work.

Similarly, Brett DiNovi and his team discuss pay for performance systems at Brett DiNovi and Associates, in a recent YouTube video.  They were in favor of discarding the traditional annual performance review, in favor of more frequent meetings with mentors and supervisors.  Weekly meetings, for example, provide many more opportunities for beneficial interactions that can enhance performance of the employee, the supervisor, and lead to larger process improvements in the organization. 

For example, Brett’s team noted that such meetings provide a forum for mentors or supervisors to solicit feedback from the employee on their own behavior.  Soliciting feedback in such a way comprises what is known as 360 degree feedback.  It is more common to receive for feedback from those above us in the organization, but asking for feedback from those you supervise adds another dimension to the process.

Such frequent meetings also provide an opportunity to monitor and troubleshoot any unexpected logistical barriers that naturally arise in the course of work.  The latter helps to keep an organization sensitive to contingencies operating across levels and to adapt in a flexible manner to help ensure quality services. 

Finally, such meetings are held within the context of a pay for performance system.  Such systems commonly use performance scorecards to quantitatively establish performance goals and measure progress along the way.  Scorecards can provide the larger context for the weekly meetings, help set the agenda for the meetings, clarify goals, address barriers to goals, and serve as an opportunity for 360 degree feedback.  In fact Szabo, Williams, Rafacz, Newsome, and Lydon (2012) showed that the use of score cards significantly enhanced the performance of 56 front-line staff working in a human service setting. 

For more on pay for performance be sure to check out the full video, and to subscribe to Brett DiNovi’s channel and tell him what you would like to see in future videos!  Also, be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world,  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at [email protected]

Brett DinoviBrett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at [email protected]

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